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Willimantic Orchestra’s new director aims to boost quality, grow audience

By MICHELLE FIRESTONE

Chronicle Staff Writer

WILLIMANTIC — Mansfield resident Scott Chaurette has worked with students at E.O. Smith High School in Mansfield for more than a decade.

In July, he began working with a group of musicians of various ages and experience levels.

Chaurette, the new director of the Willimantic Orchestra, said he wants the community orchestra to grow and the quality of the music it plays to improve.

“I would like to get the orchestra out into the community and engaging the residents of the greater Windham area,” he said. “I’d like to grow our audience and remove barriers that people may feel are keeping them from attending symphony performances.”

Chaurette replaced former Willimantic Orchestra director David Vaughan, who retired after 25 years.

Vaughan’s last concert as conductor was in April 2016.

Chaurette said the orchestra had three guest conductors before he was hired.

“It’s been going great so far,” he said. “They are a very talented group of musicians and a joy to rehearse and perform with.”

Chaurette is chairman of the fine arts department and the director of orchestral activities at E.O. Smith, where he has been working for 13 years.

“I work most closely with the string players and I conduct the string orchestra, chamber orchestra and symphony orchestra,” he said.

Chaurette is from Salem, Mass., and now lives in Mansfield with his wife, who is a cellist in the Willimantic Orchestra, and two children.

He has a bachelor’s degree in bass performance from the Boston Conservatory, a master’s degree in bass performance from the University of Illinois and has done graduate work in orchestral conducting at the University of Connecticut.

Before working at E.O. Smith, Chaurette taught in the Cambridge, Mass., public school district and at some colleges.

He once worked as the music director and conductor of the Seven Hills Symphony in Worcester, Mass.

Chaurette has performed in orchestras all over New England, including the Boston Philharmonic, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Portland Symphony in Maine and Rhode Island Philharmonic.

He currently plays bass locally with the Hop River Chamber Players, a tango band called Infinitango and a wedding/function band called Black Ties Affair.

For more information about the Willimantic Orchestra, visit www.willimanticorchestra.org.

 

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